Wait. Am I Stressed or Anxious?
You’ve likely heard the terms stress and anxiety used interchangeably (we mention them together a lot as CBD can help with both!)
However, it's important to know that they are two different things.
Stress is what your body does in response to a threatening situation. People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don't go away it can be a reaction to stress or occur even in the absence of a stressor. Think a pounding heart, sweaty palms, racing thoughts.
What are the symptoms of Anxiety?
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
- Having an increased heart rate.
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired.
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.
“One in 13 people around the world live with an anxiety disorder, making them the most common mental health disorder worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)”
What can cause Anxiety?
Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression and in some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety. For those living with anxiety, finding a safe method for managing symptoms is a critical concern.
The conventional treatment for low serotonin is only available by prescription and includes quick-acting anti-anxiety medication, such as Xanax and Valium, which may offer instant relief but can become addictive. Long-range anxiety medications, such as Prozac, may help reduce symptoms over time, but don’t work for everyone.
How can CBD help?
CBD has recently captured the spotlight as an alternative or complementary treatment for anxiety.
Through interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it’s thought that CBD may alter serotonin signals, having a similar effect to some conventional treatments.
Studies have shown that people with anxiety may be able to manage their condition with CBD instead of pharmaceuticals.
“We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely”
A well-rounded approach
With so many constant sources of stress, people often need a more holistic approach to heal from anxiety. Even medical doctors have begun suggesting that people combine traditional psychotherapy & pharmaceutical treatments with relaxation techniques like yoga & meditation.
If you choose to supplement with CBD, it will work best as part of a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan.
We encourage you to speak first with a trusted medical professional about your plans, especially if you currently take prescription medications. Similar to grapefruits, CBD could interfere with your body's ability to metabolize drugs.
A doctor or integrative practitioner can also help you rule out any contributing deficiencies and other worrisome health issues.
Show us the research!
Beyond the glowing testimonials of individuals who successfully treat their anxiety with CBD oil, there is also a growing body of scientific evidence that CBD works!
Most research has been done in rodents. A recent review discusses 32 different rodent studies that tested CBD’s effects on anxiety — and only one didn’t see useful results.
Human experiments are costly and legally complicated — which makes it no surprise that human studies are fewer and less conclusive. But overall, there are some exciting uses for CBD in anxiety have emerged for both rodents and humans:
- In a double-blind study from 2019, 37 Japanese teenagers with social anxiety disorder (SAD) received 300 mg of CBD oil or a placebo every day for four weeks. The teens were assessed with surveys used to diagnose and measure SAD symptoms. The anti-anxiety properties of CBD reduced symptoms aligned with the disorder, providing relief comparable to Paroxetine, a drug commonly used to treat the condition.
- Less anxiety in response to stress. These experiments put test subjects in a stressful situation and measure their anxiety levels:
- Rodent evidence: In one example, mice were placed in a cage with a boa constrictor. Mice given low doses of CBD (equivalent to a 20 mg dosage for a 150-pound person) spent more time scanning their environment and choosing the most strategic location to run instead of panicking.
- Human evidence: Public speaking is the human equivalent of a boa constrictor. CBD improves performance anxiety both for people without anxiety disorders and also for people with social anxiety disorder.
- Extinction learning: One way we get over anxiety is through “extinction learning,” or learning to let go of triggers when there’s nothing left to fear. These experiments often train test subjects to associate something harmless with something painful, and then measure how long it takes to stop fearing the harmless trigger after they stop delivering pain. This is particularly relevant for people suffering from PTSD:
- Rodent evidence: Rodents freeze in fear when they are conditioned to expect an electric shock. However, if scientists give them CBD during the extinction learning process, they are less likely to freeze up in expectation — even after the CBD has worn off.
- Human evidence: People have also been conditioned to expect an electric shock when they see a visual cue. Those who inhaled a 32 mg dosage of CBD during extinction training (without shocks) were less expectant of receiving a shock when tested two days later — long after the CBD had worn off